Elliott Durrell believes ‘hard work and togetherness’ are the key ingredients needed to win promotion in non-league.

The 28-year-old winger - who scored nine goals in 46 appearances for Chester in 2016/17 - was part of last season’s title-winning Macclesfield Town side, put together by John Askey on a shoestring budget and not given much hope by even the most optimistic observers.

However, the Silkmen ended up being crowned champions at a canter, as one-by-one the likes of Tranmere, Sutton United, Boreham Wood and his former club Wrexham fell by the wayside.

“It was no secret we didn’t have a huge budget, and no one fancied us really,” said Durrell.

“We did it against all the odds, some had us down to be relegated. We had no superstars for this level but what that creates is a team spirit and togetherness which is priceless.

“Clubs spend loads at this level, thousands on wages, but we showed you just need a good group who work hard, and you can get your rewards at the end of it all.”

Durrell believes a 6-0 hammering at AFC Fylde in mid-January was the catalyst for Macc’s run to the title, winning five of their next six outings to climb to the summit.

He said: “We had the bad result against Fylde and I think 90 per cent of people who had been following National League were thinking ‘that’s going to be the end of Macclesfield’ and we’d fall away.

“We went on an amazing run after that, we knew that performance wasn’t good enough and we went about setting it right.

“We were very solid and one-by-one we kept seeing off our promotion rivals. We scored a couple of last-minute winners and you’re starting to think it is possible when those things happen.

“You have to win, regroup, win again. It’s relentless but brilliant when it comes off.”

Durrell, who is set for a spell on the sidelines after undergoing abductor surgery at the weekend, now hopes to see Chester bounce back at the first attempt and claim promotion from National League North.

“Non-league football is becoming stronger every year and it is so competitive in National League that it’s easy to slip out of the league if you have a bad run,” he said.

“Chester had a tough year, but I hope they bounce back at the first attempt. I’ve been following and the new managers appear to be making some good signings and it’s a new squad really. I see no reason why they can’t get back up.”

The winger, who has also had spells at Wrexham and Tamworth, still admits to being ‘surprised’ at his release by then-Chester manager Jon McCarthy, having stated his intention to sign a new contract once returning from the Jamie Vardy V9 Academy, which he had been invited to attend at the end of the 2016/17 campaign.

“I wouldn’t say I wanted to prove a point,” he said.

“Chester offered myself, and several other players, new contracts in January, but I got the offer to go and do V9 and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“It’s an amazing chance for non-league players but you have to be out-of-contract or without a club to attend, so I told Chester I would sign once I’d done V9.

“Unfortunately, Chester took that as I didn’t want to stay, and they released me, which was a surprise. But there’s no bad feeling on my part and I think both Chester and Wrexham fans are a knowledgeable set of fans and they both know what I am capable of.

“Macclesfield came in for me after the V9 – which was a fantastic experience – and I went there.”

Silkmen boss John Askey has since been appointed manager at League One outfit Shrewsbury Town, with his legendary status rubber-stamped by securing promotion to the Football League at Moss Rose.

Mark Yates has since been appointed Macc boss having left Solihull Moors, and Durrell believes they can have a successful season in League Two.

“It’s strange not having him around, he’s always been associated with Macclesfield and has been there since I joined,” he continued.

“It’s the nature of the beast though, and what a move it is for John. It is completely deserved too, for what he did with us last season and what we could produce for him. He deserves the chance and if you do well in football, teams higher up the leagues come in for you.

“I was in the first two weeks before the operation and Mark (Yates) has similar values and style really. So hopefully we can keep doing what we do well and with a few tweaks here and there it will work well.”